AHN Selection Criteria for the Recruitment of Homestay Hosts

AHN Selection Criteria for the Recruitment of Homestay Host

Note: This policy is subject to change at any time. Please check all AHN Policies on a regular basis for updates.

Document Outline:

This document is for use by AHN when dealing with new Host applicants. It outlines the standards that all Hosts will need to meet in order to be acceptable to the AHN community. It should be used as a guide during initial contact with new applicants and referred to when conducting their home inspection.

Selection Criteria for Recruitment of Homestay Hosts:

The goal of AHN is to recruit Hosts who can achieve excellent performance for Guests using the AHN system. Customer satisfaction can be achieved if Guests understand their duty of care and receive support and training on an ongoing basis. Hosting for the right reasons is paramount. Hosts must be financially stable and have time to spend with the Guest and be willing to include their Guests in their home/family activities.

Selection Process:

The chronological sequence of Host selection allows a supervisor to make an informed decision based on how well the prospective Host deals with each stage of their application and their ability to communicate with the supervisor throughout this process. The supervisor should pay particular attention to the tone and quality of their initial communication, how well they proceed with the training and orientation and, finally, the result of their home interview.

Hosts must offer:

  • Good quality accommodation in a stable environment
  • Clean and tidy home with fire alarm installed
  • Private bedroom with access internally and part of the family home
  • Access to the home if security system installed
  • Lockable doors to bathroom and toilet
  • A good quality bed and bedding
  • Study desk with comfortable chair and lighting
  • Wardrobe free of family belongings
  • Drawer space (can be incorporated within the wardrobe)
  • Heater or fan (depending on climate/season)
  • Bathroom and toilet facilities close to the bedroom
  • Laundry facilities
  • Access to telephone
  • Access to internet facilities
  • No intimidating pets

Hosts must display:

  • Positive, honest, flexible, open-minded attitude towards the homestay situation
  • Willingness to communicate with the Guest
  • Positive, tolerant attitude towards other cultures
  • Interest and good motivational skills (e.g. do they sound excited at the prospect of hosting?)
  • Knowledge of specific needs of international Guests (e.g. prior experience and/or a willingness to train)
  • Ability to facilitate Guests’ needs (e.g. emotional, behavioural, cultural)
  • Ability to manage conflict
  • Ability to introduce appropriate boundaries depending on Guest’s age and maturity
  • Stability and strength (e.g. financial, social, emotional etc.)
  • Willingness of other members residing in the home to accept the Guest
  • Ability to speak English in a clear and concise manner

What is Duty of Care?

The AHN community has a duty of care to all Guests. There are four key factors outlined below:

Duty of care exists when a stakeholder’s action, or failure to act, could reasonably be expected to affect another stakeholder. Duty of care then means being in a position where someone else is likely to be affected by what you do or do not do and where it is reasonably predictable that the other person might suffer some harm.

Standard of care is the ‘reasonable’ standard expected. A reasonable standard does not mean perfection but will vary considerably depending on who you are and the circumstances.

A breach of duty of care is the failure to meet the relevant standard of care which might happen through the failure to do something that should have been done. This does not mean that every mistake constitutes a breach of duty of care. This will depend on whether or not the mistake was reasonable in the circumstances.

Harm or loss or injury in a negligence action must be demonstrated to have been caused either directly or indirectly by the breach of duty of care. It must be able to be shown that were it not for the other person’s carelessness the damage would not have occurred. It must also be shown that the harm was reasonably foreseeable in the circumstances.

Warning Signs

  • excessive focus on financial gain as motivation for hosting
  • mannerisms which may be interpreted by staff as threatening or have potential to make Guests feel uncomfortable
  • houses designed to be boarding houses
  • the presence of many other homestay Guests
  • apparent lack of cultural sensitivity or flexibility (e.g. unwillingness to provide Asian Guests with rice meals or permit Guests to practice religious rituals at home etc.)
  • household arrangements that infringe on Guests’ privacy (e.g. shared sleeping arrangements)
  • unstable environment that differs from the Host profile or information provided by the Host

AHN representatives must be aware of discrimination legislation. Racial discrimination abounds in the homestay industry because the majority of homestay Guests wish to live with what they perceive as a ‘typical’ native Australian family. Race is not sufficient grounds to reject an applicant as a Host. 

While the supervisor must avoid discrimination, if a potential Host, regardless of race, does not meet the selection criteria set by the supervisor then the supervisor must refuse them. For example: homestay Guests expect to stay with an English-speaking family to improve their English language capabilities. If a high level of English is an established criterion for placing Guests and a household does not meet the criterion, the household can be refused as a Host. If the supervisor chooses to reject potential Hosts based on this criterion (or any other), the code of conduct and program policies should clearly reflect this position to protect the supervisor and the AHN community legally.

It is at AHN’s discretion whether or not the Host should be informed of the reasons they are being rejected. For example, if requirements are currently lacking that may be met in the future a supervisor may wish to alert the Host of what is needed; however, if a Host is completely unsuitable (e.g. hosting as primary income, prior exclusion from network) the supervisor may choose to simply inform the prospective Host of their unsuitability without elaboration. If the Host chooses to challenge this they may be informed of the Complaint Management Policy and lodge a written request to appeal the decision. Please note that as part of the grievance proceedings applicants do have a legal right to view information collected regarding them: as such Host files should be objective and not overly explicit in listing reasons for Host unsuitability.

More information about the Discrimination Act 1991 (ACT) can be found on the following website: http://www.legislation.act.gov.au/a/1991-81/default.asp.

Monitoring Hosts
The objective of monitoring Hosts ensures that continued performance is identified and measured against the criterion in place. Support can be offered where the need is identified to better protect both the Host and the supervisor. Monitoring should take place once in each six month period.

Home Inspection
Accommodation must be inspected prior to a Guest being placed according to the appropriate checklist (above). A Host should be advised if they have failed to supply any part of the requirements and re-checked when requirements are complete.

Obtaining and Maintaining Valid Clearances

To participate in the AHN homestay program, all Hosts and permanent residents are required to obtain the relevant Working with Children Check and/or Police Check for their State/Territory and ensure these remain valid. Details of State/Territory requirements can be found at https://aifs.gov.au/cfca/publications/pre-employment-screening-working-children-checks-and-police-checks/part-overview.

Reviewed April 2023